The merger of Nation Media Group (NMG) business desks has finally been firmed up, as the country’s leading media house begins to implement the converged newsroom model.Under the convergence, the three media platforms – print (Business Daily and Daily Nation), electronic (NTV, Qtv, and Nation FM, and Nation Digital – will share reporters and editors. This is expected to help the company cut its expenditure on gathering of news as circulation shrinks and ad revenues fall.A convergence newsroom breaks down the walls between print, TV, radio, and web, and creates a “hub & spoke” model where journalists gather the story, then tell it in different ways through different media.Newspaper reporters will do scripts for radio and TV, while electronic journalists will also be required to write articles for the newspapers.

This is aimed at eliminating duplication of roles under the current system where Daily Nation, Business Daily and NTV send their own teams of reporters and camera people to the same function. Under converged newsroom, only one reporter and camera man would be enough to serve the three platforms.

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The converged business desk newsroom will begin operations on March 1, this year, and shifting of Daily Nation business desk to the Business Daily newsroom on 6th floor begins today. Nation editor-in-chief Tom Mshindi and HR director today met with top Business Daily and Daily Nation editors and business desk staff to lay out the new structure and operational procedures, which BusinessToday will surely bring out.

It’s full steam ahead despite initial resistance from Daily Nation business desk journalists who saw the move as insubordination since Business Daily was projected as the superior partner under the converged newsroom. The model is bound to have its teething problems but that’s the way multi-media houses are going. Locally, Mediamax tried it but it failed, while the Star is set to roll it out on March 1st as well.
But the key concern about merged newsroom in Kenya is the attendant job losses once duplication of effort ceases. The Star has already started laying off while Nation has yet to figure it out.

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